Time is Running Out for the Flyers

New York Islanders v Philadelphia Flyers
New York Islanders v Philadelphia Flyers / Tim Nwachukwu/GettyImages

A few weeks ago, the Philadelphia Flyers firmly grasped a playoff spot. After this weekend, they are on the outside looking in. With four games left, they are in trouble. They have stumbled against teams that should've been easier victories after surviving a ten-game onslaught of some of the best teams in the NHL. All is not lost, yet. However, they need some help if they want to make the postseason.

Let's look at the Flyers' remaining games. Next, we'll look at the schedules of their competition.

Philadelphia Flyers

This week, the Flyers are away at Montreal on Tuesday, away at the Rangers on Thursday, host the Devils on Saturday, and wrap it all up against the Capitals on Apr. 16. Montreal should be an easy victory, except they dropped a 4-1 decision to them last week. The same was said against the Buffalo Sabres and Columbus Blue Jackets. Montreal is vying for the second-worst record in the East with Ottawa. Who has the worst? Columbus.

The Flyers have struggled against the Rangers for the last decade. They recently lost 6-5 in overtime. The Devils are still in the playoff hunt, with five games to go, but they need to sweep all five games and hope everyone else loses. Even if they are out by this weekend, they will gladly knock the Flyers out of the hunt if they are still in it. Washington will probably be fighting for that last playoff spot. Look for them to come out swinging.

Prognosis: Not good. You have three division rivals who'd love to play the spoiler role and one crappy team that can beat them because Philadelphia can't seem to beat those teams right now. Honestly, the Flyers need to win all four games right now and they will need some help.

New York Islanders

After playing blah hockey for much of the season, they've kicked it up recently. They have five games left: two against the Rangers and one game each against Montreal, New Jersey, and Pittsburgh. This is the team most likely to fall apart. The Rangers would love to beat their cross-town rivals. Pittsburgh currently holds the eighth and final seed. New Jersey would love to knock off a divisional rival, especially if it helps their cause. It is possible that the Islanders could go 1-4 in their final five games. That would help the Flyers out a lot.

Pittsburgh Penguins

Now that everyone is healthy, and going 9-6-3 since the trade deadline acquisition of Michael Bunting, the Penguins have woken up. They are still flawed, but they have improved. They have five games left, but their stretch is tougher. However, if they can play like they did against Tampa Bay, they could lock in that final spot. Their final five are as follows: Toronto, Detroit, Boston, Nashville, and Islanders. Three are playoff locks and two are fighting for a spot. Pittsburgh could rise above or collapse epically. This is a favorable schedule for Philly.

Washington Capitals

The Capitals are another team that has played meh hockey all year only to turn up at the end. Through a quirk in the scheduling, they have six games left. That could come back to haunt Philly. Their remaining schedule includes Ottawa, Detroit, Buffalo, Tampa, Boston, and Philly. Ottawa should be a pushover. Detroit and Buffalo are outside shots to making the playoffs and will fight tooth and nail for those games. Tampa and Boston will be tough for Washington. It could come down to who wins that last game of the season to see who makes the playoffs.

Detroit Red Wings

The Red Wings have quietly been fighting all season to come back to respectability. They are tied with the Capitals with 82 points and are just one point behind Philly and Pittsburgh. They are a threat. They also have six games left to play. They face off against Buffalo and Washington before playing Pittsburgh and Toronto. They close out the season with a pair against Montreal. The best-case scenario is that they beat Pittsburgh and Washington and fumble the other two. Even then, that final pair of games against Montreal is disconcerting. Wins there could push the Wings into the playoffs.


The Buffalo Sabres are lurking with five games remaining and 79 points. They are a long shot, but if they get hot and everyone else stumbles, they could sneak in. Likewise, the New Jersey Devils have 78 points with five to go. They are also in striking distance and could get hot. While these two teams are most likely out, you can't sleep on them yet.

Final Outlook

Philadelphia has to win out. No question. Going 3-1 may be enough. However, having just four games left when their rivals have five or six is what could hurt them. Likewise, it is good that these teams do end up facing each other. The worst case would be for those games to go into overtime and everyone gets a point. The postseason is still within their grasp, but the Flyers need help. That's not a good place to be in.